DescriptionWhen the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad reached the stagecoach stop on the cottonwood (alamosa)-blanketed bend of the Rio Grande, it brought with it the houses, stores and churches from its former terminus, Garland City. In a matter of days, Alamosa was in business. As the rails extended beyond the town, Alamosa became the transportation and trading center for the San Luis Valley.
The valley—a high, flat, semiarid plain about 50 miles wide and 125 miles long—once was the bed of an ancient lake. Irrigated by the Rio Grande and artesian wells, it is one of the most productive farming areas in the state. Red McClure potatoes, lettuce and barley are among crops shipped from Alamosa. Many wetlands and lakes make this a popular stopping place for migratory birds, including the 20,000 cranes that grace the valley each spring.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve lies 38 miles northeast of Alamosa; recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking and birding are available in the park. Fishing, boating and soaking in hot springs are available in the valley and nearby mountain ranges.
Visitor InfoColorado Welcome Center at Alamosa 610 State Ave. ALAMOSA, CO 81101. Phone:(719)589-4840 or (800)258-7597
Things to SeeAlamosa National Wildlife Refuge